Today was the first opportunity to spend time in the vendor exhibits. For me, this used to be one of the most useful parts of a NECC trip. However, with more and more services and tools moving to the web, I personally have picked up less and less. One interesting item this year was that Apple did not have a presence in the exhibit hall. Apple has always had one of the largest displays in square feet and perhaps Apple cannot scale back – it might be the largest or nothing.
It does seem like there is a greater emphasis on hardware – more white boards, projectors, digital microscopes, robotics, small PCs (I may post on this later) and firewall devices.
A few years ago Safari Montage (a company providing high quality video content on closed networks to schools) purchased the products from eZedia. The role of eZedia is an important issue for us because we write a book for future teachers and the tool we focused on in the last edition for student multimedia authoring was eZediaMX. We were also interested in eZediaQTI because it took advantage of some of the unique capabilities of Quicktime and it seemed a Quicktime authoring environment in connection with a video company might offer great opportunities for student authoring.
It now seems certain that this may not be the way Safari Montage is going. Our company contant had moved to Safari with eZedia and he was not at the conference. They booth person we talked with also indicated that eZedia products had not be upgraded nor were upgrades in process. Not good news for us. From a business perspective, this probably makes sense. Student authoring is moving to Web 2.0 tools and authoring tools for students is probably not a big market. Still, I am sorry to see this happen.
There was one item of news from Safari Montage. They will now offer their content outside of the school WAN. Teachers will now be able to work outside of the school.